The Caltech Institute Archives

Interview with Paul B. MacCready

MacCready, Paul B. (2006) Interview with Paul B. MacCready. [Oral History]

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An interview in three sessions with Paul B. MacCready, Caltech graduate (MS physics, 1948; PhD aeronautics, 1952) and inventor and entrepreneur who became internationally known in 1977 as the "father of human-powered flight." Conducted by Sara Lippincott, the oral history covers MacCready's scientific and entrepreneurial career, including biographical details. MacCready discusses his family life, early education and aeronautical interests in New Haven, CT. During his youth he progressed from the construction of model airplanes to the flying of motor-propelled aircraft and gliders. MacCready recounts his soaring competitions along with his education at Yale in the 1940s; he continues by describing his graduate work at Caltech from 1947 to 1952 and his high altitude soaring in the Sierras and Europe; he relates this to his interest in weather modification and his entrepreneurial work in cloud seeding. In 1971 MacCready founded AeroVironment with his associates Peter Lissaman and Ivar Tombach; he discusses his early clients and research. Beginning in the mid-1970s MacCready began work on the celebrated Gossamer aircraft series; the interview includes discussion concerning the advent of the Gossamer Condor in 1976-1977 and the flight of the Gossamer Albatross across the English Channel in 1979. The interview also includes his continued interest in human-powered flight and environmental issues, as well as unmanned solar-powered flight.

Item Type:Oral History
Keywords:Engineering, aeronautics
Record Number:CaltechOH:OH_MacCready_P
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:MacCready, Paul B. Interview by Sara Lippincott. Pasadena, California, February-March 2003. Oral History Project, California Institute of Technology Archives. Retrieved [supply date of retrieval] from the World Wide Web:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
Subjects:All Records
Subjects > Engineering
ID Code:128
Deposited By: Oral Histories Administrator
Deposited On:08 Jul 2008
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 15:23

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